Breaking the ‘Great Chasm’ in Medical Coding: How Our IP Coder Training Program Shapes the Next Generation

Breaking the ‘Great Chasm’ in Medical Coding: How Our IP Coder Training Program Shapes the Next Generation

In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, where accuracy and efficiency in medical coding are paramount, YES HIM Consulting spearheaded a pioneering initiative – the Inpatient Coder Development Program, affectionately known as the “NGT – new grad training” or “Coder Grad.” This comprehensive case study unveils the innovative strategies and remarkable outcomes of YES HIM Consulting’s groundbreaking medical coder training program.

Medical coding serves as the vital link between healthcare providers, insurers, and patients. Recognizing its pivotal role as a leader in health information management and consulting, YES initiated the Inpatient Coder Development Program. This case study navigates through the program’s inception, objectives, methodologies, and transformative impact on recent graduate coders.

YES aimed to revolutionize medical coder training through its program. The case study stands as a testament to the organization’s commitment to innovation, excellence, and fostering the growth of promising talent in the field of medical coding. The overarching purpose was to bridge the gap between new graduates and healthcare facilities, addressing the industry’s catch-22 known as the “Great Chasm” of medical coding.

The Inpatient Coder Development Program, a 9- to 12-month immersive training, served as a boot camp for inpatient medical coding. This groundbreaking initiative provided selected trainees hands-on inpatient coding education, real-world mentoring, and practical training by experienced Inpatient Coders and Auditors at YES. The focus was on inpatient coding, but the program’s success paved the way for a similar approach to developing new graduate outpatient coders. The 9- to 12-month timeframe aligns with industry standards, acknowledging the multifaceted nature of medical coding and allowing trainees to master complexities at their own pace.

Objectives of the Program & Case Study

The Inpatient Coder Development Program and subsequent Case Study aimed to achieve the following:

  1. Develop Capable Inpatient Medical Coders: The primary goal was to cultivate a pool of proficient inpatient medical coders. YES aimed to equip trainees with the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed to excel in this complex field, emphasizing its commitment to talent development.
  2. Provide Productive and Accurate Coding Professionals: The program’s success hinged on supplying medical facilities with productive and accurate coding professionals. Through intensive mentoring, trainees established proper coding habits early, contributing to operational efficiency and accuracy.
  3. Hone a Well-Thought-Out and Regimented Program: YES’s commitment extended beyond conceptualization; the objective was to turn a well-structured plan into a vibrant reality. The program aimed to continually evolve based on feedback and industry trends, making it a dynamic force within the medical coding arena.
  4. Establish Collaborative Partnerships and Promote Top Talent Placement: A pivotal objective was to forge relationships with accredited HIM programs, identifying and recruiting the most promising students for accelerated coding success. This not only provided opportunities for talented individuals but also ensured healthcare facilities benefited from top-tier professionals.
  5. Business Objective – Develop a New Service Line and Forge Partnerships: YES HIM Consulting recognized the potential for the program to become a valuable service line, producing highly skilled medical coders. The goal was to establish partnerships with healthcare clients seeking reliable coding services.
  6. Broader Objective – Transform the Healthcare Industry: At its core, the program aimed to contribute to the transformation of the healthcare industry by nurturing top talent, improving coding accuracy, and enhancing the efficiency of medical facilities.

Methods of Success

The program unfolded in three phases: Recruiting, Readying, and Repeat and Review. The recruitment process involved collaboration with esteemed coding programs, selecting candidates demonstrating exceptional performance. These candidates underwent a rigorous evaluation process, including interviews and comprehensive testing in essential subjects such as Medical Terminology, Anatomy & Physiology, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, ICD-10-CM diagnoses, and ICD-10-PCS procedures.

The readiness phase included an immersive two-week ICD-10 Academy and shadowing experienced Inpatient coders. During this phase, YES provides in-depth courses that are customized to Inpatient diagnosis and procedure guidelines, with a variety of illustrative examples. One noteworthy aspect of this phase is the opportunity for trainees to participate in live interactive Q&A sessions with experienced educators, which enables them to explore the subject matter in greater depth.

The repeat and review phase integrated trainees into the facility’s coding workflow, gradually transitioning them to independent coding. Trainees are guaranteed a practical coding experience in current Inpatient discharges, with a 100% pre-bill secondary review process. They receive daily individual encounter form feedback and weekly coaching sessions led by experienced coder/auditors from YES. This collaboration ensures that trainees are able to improve their skills effectively.

Results of the Medical Coder Training Program Case Study

The success metrics, meticulously tracked over the 9–12-month timeframe, showcased the program’s effectiveness. Trainees surpassed expectations, completing the program within nine months. Productivity levels steadily improved, with a commendable output of 0.83 to 1.42 charts per hour. The focus on coding accuracy resulted in a significant 12.4% increase in DRG coding accuracy rate. Importantly, all trainees achieved a 95% DRG accuracy across reviewed charts.

medical coder training program

It is worth noting that the facility witnessed productive coding time for selected DRGs by the fourth month of the program. The program’s targeted approach allowed trainees to code productively on specific DRG classifications while still undergoing training on other DRGs. This approach led to a high release rate of trainees to production coding, with all coders transitioning swiftly and progressively handling more complex encounters. The client facility praised the exceptional quality of work delivered by the program, stating that their trained new graduate coders performed better than many existing coders within the facility.

medical coder training program

In conclusion, the Medical Coder Training Program stands as a model for transformative education in the healthcare industry. By addressing the industry’s challenges, fostering talent, and exceeding performance metrics, the program has not only developed proficient medical coders but has also contributed to reshaping the healthcare landscape.

Curious about the details of our program? Download our comprehensive Executive Summary to get an in-depth overview of how our training initiative can benefit your hospital.

Discover our team’s tailored approach to medical coder training. Request a customized training proposal today and learn how our program can address the unique needs of your hospital.

YES HIM Consulting

inpatient medical coder training program

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